Missouri’s New Gas Tax Hassle
If you’ve ever bought something that came with a mail-in rebate, the story of Missouri’s new gas tax refund should not sound too surprising. Missouri’s gas tax increased by 2.5 cents on October 1, but Missourians are being told they won’t have to pay the additional taxes as long as they file for a refund. The question is whether claiming the refund is ultimately worth the hassle.
Missourians interested in getting a gas tax refund should start saving their receipts immediately. Then, sometime between July 1 and September 30 of 2022, those seeking a refund will need to use the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) website to start the refund claiming process. Each claim will require:
- The vehicle identification number of the vehicle into which the fuel was delivered;
- The date of the fuel sale;
- Names and addresses of the purchaser and seller;
- The number of gallons purchased; and
- The number of gallons purchased and charged Missouri fuel tax.
As of now, Missouri’s DOR hopes to have a new online system ready to allow taxpayers to file their refund claims electronically, but if it’s not ready, refund seekers will likely need to complete a slew of paper forms. Refund seekers who have their claims accepted should expect to receive their refund within 45 days. And while the claims will not initially require the submission of receipts, DOR may ask for them. In addition, the DOR stated receipts should be kept for three years for good measure.
Keep in mind that only the new 2.5 cent gas tax will be eligible for a refund. So, if for example, you purchase 100 gallons of fuel before next July, you would need to keep all your receipts until then (then another three years after), submit the required information in the prescribed three-month claim window, and then hopefully receive a check for $2.50 a month and a half later.
It remains to be seen how many Missourians will decide to take the state up on its offer, but the amount of effort required for such a meager return makes me skeptical many will follow through. Of course, if the state really wanted to make it easy for Missourians to claim refunds, it would have created an app to allow taxpayers to file claims immediately after purchase. But just like many mail-in rebate schemes, the program doesn’t seem designed to encourage people to actually claim the refund.